Let’s make next summer’s party even bigger! Join your friends and classmates at Reunion 2014!
Everyone is welcome, but special events are planned for these milestone classes and groups:
65th – 1949
60th – 1954
55th – 1959
50th – 1964
45th – 1969
40th – 1974
30th – 1983, 1984, 1985
25th – 1989
10th – 2004
5th – 2008, 2009, 2010
Alpha Sigma Chi
Alpha Delta Eta
Beta Tau Epsilon
Delta Chi Omega/TKE
Delta Kappa Kappa
Omega Delta Phi
Phi Lambda Phi
Phi Sigma Phi
Pi Delta Chi
Psi Phi Gamma
Theta Chi Rho
Zeta Chi Zeta
To plan a mini-reunion for your group or organization, please let us know by Oct. 15.
Sign up to be a Reunion Class or Group Volunteer!
It’s a great opportunity to
- Network with classmates
- Plan the weekend’s activities
- Have fun!
Please contact the Alumni Office or sign up online by Oct. 1, 2013, to join our volunteer team.
Reunion Hotline: 315-312-5559
Watch for registration materials in the mail this spring!
Check the website for more groups and for the most up-to-date information: alumni.oswego.edu/reunion
Career Services recently launched Optimal Resume, an online suite with features that allow users to quickly create cover letters, tailor resumes to different jobs, practice interviewing and organize and conduct searches.
Gary Morris ’88, director of the Compass student success center as well as its Career Services unit, said the new software will help SUNY Oswego students and alumni prepare for searching via a multifaceted interface used by more than 600 colleges and universities nationwide. Optimal Resume has a range of job-search tools, from skills assessment to mock interviews.
“Optimal Resume helps users realize their value and what they have to offer,” including credentials they may not have even realized they had, Morris said.
Christina Carnavale ’13, a SUNY Oswego senior majoring in human resource management, agreed.
“The skills assessment portion can help you take any experience, say a job working at Freshens in the Campus Center, and make it highlight the skills you got from that job,” Carnavale said.
Users can tailor resumes to fit the target industry. “The software comes with a range of different resume and cover letter templates that are designed for a certain job,” Carnavale said. “If you are trying to get into a graduate business school, there’s a template for that type of resume.”
Carnavale said she uses the software to prepare resumes for her own job search, as well as to help other students as a Compass Navigator.
“There are so many features to it,” Carnavale said. “Students can really do a lot on their own using this software.”
Other Optimal Resume features include the option of quick feedback anywhere at any time. Online availability makes it easy for students to work on their resumes and submit them for critique.
“Once they’re done with the resume, they can hit the review button and have
it sent to Compass staff for feedback,” Morris said.
The mock-interview toolset enables students and alumni to create a video where they respond to interview questions, as many as 20 per interview. Once the mock interview is complete, students can upload and send the video to Compass staff for feedback.
“With this software, students can do a mock interview anytime, anywhere, and have feedback in a few days,” Morris said. Users also have the option of spoken-only or written interviews.
Alumni benefit from free use
Optimal Resume can help alumni tailor resumes to different jobs, provide interviewing practice, organize and conduct searches and develop a personal brand online.
Morris said the new software will help alumni job-searching via a multifaceted interface used by employers seeking to better screen candidates. Optimal Resume has a range of other job-search tools, among them profile creation, skills assessment and mock interviews.
“It can be accessed for free from anywhere,” Morris said. “SUNY Oswego students and alumni all can have access to our services. If someone had a job interview in Switzerland and wanted some practice with interview questions, they could just upload a video and we could send feedback in 24 to 48 hours.”
Alumni can use the suite to examine the skills they have acquired and identify “what specific skills different jobs require and how they can tailor their resumes to reflect those skills,” Morris said.
Career Services will critique alumni resumes on a time-available basis, he said.
Optimal Resume also offers users the opportunity to create a website with resumes and portfolios of their work.
In addition to the array of professional development services the SUNY Oswego Office of Career Services offers, alumni can find networking opportunities in a 4,500-member LinkedIn group.
The discussion forum has fostered connections over the past five years, with alumni waxing nostalgic about favorite memories or pursuing job and networking opportunities. Exclusive to Oswego alumni, the group establishes a great base for networking, founder and moderator Maureen O’Donnell Sanchez ’87 said.
“[We talk] about everything from sunsets and the opening of the Stands to jobs … members try to help each other organically,” Sanchez said. “I have posted many jobs over the years, and I hope that has opened the door for others to feel comfortable doing the same.”
The group includes a board of job opportunities, a valuable resource that includes member postings from across their networks.
“Whenever friends at various companies are looking, I post the positions in the jobs discussions section,” Sanchez said. “I’d encourage any member to do the same — helping out Oswego alums, letting them see through their eyes what you see through yours.”
Internship- and job-seeking Oswego students often interact too, giving members an opportunity to lend a hand and make connections with the newest or soon-to-be graduates. It’s not uncommon to see impromptu local alumni gatherings organized there as well.
“It’s as strong as the members make it,” Sanchez said. “The more you interact and engage, the more you stand to get out of the group. I would absolutely encourage any of Oswego’s 77,000 alums to join.”
Drop in at www.linkd.in/oswegoalumni and join the conversation, search for or post jobs or simply reconnect with other alumni.
-Shane M. Liebler
A program sponsored by the Oswego Alumni Association and Career Services Office helps students make the sometimes intimidating transition from college to career. Recruiters, local experts, and Oswego alumni presented workshops to help more than 100 students forge a pathway to success.
Keynote speaker Kevin Sutherland ’05, a member of the Graduates Of the Last Decade Leadership Council, suggested students take every opportunity to network and get their résumé out to as many people as possible, including alumni.
“We are family, this is it, Oswego!” Sutherland said. Sutherland is the budget coordinator for Tompkins County, where he has worked for three years.
Interviewing is nothing to sweat about as long as you’re prepared, explained personnel coordinator for Maxim Healthcare Services, Renee Abstender Marchak ’94. Marchak said she has an array of experiences with the interview process and applies the knowledge she gained at Oswego when interviewing future employees. “Oswego did so much for me,” Marchak said.
Students stood wall-to-wall to hear Tim Barnhart ’02, a member of the Oswego Alumni Association Board of Directors, explain with honesty and realism about saving money and understanding financial planning following graduation. “As far as the education that you get, and the work ethic I was taught, I wouldn’t take another school over this school,” Barnhart said of Oswego.
Barnhart explained to students how to begin saving money, manage student loans, and still have a comfortable lifestyle after graduation. While attending Oswego, Barnhart interned with Northwestern Mutual, the company where he is now a managing director. He said that without taking the internship with Northwestern Mutual and exploring his career options in college, he would have never found his dream job.
-Brittany Hoffmann ’14
Dr. Alfred Frederick, distinguished service professor in SUNY Oswego’s School of Education, is a visiting professor and scholar in residence at the State University of Piaui in Brazil at the invitation of the State Secretariat of Education of Piaui and the State University of Piaui. Frederick said he would continue his cross-cultural work on culturally relevant teaching there over the next several summers.
As creator and coordinator of the African and Brazilian Academic and Cultural Exchange Initiative at Oswego, he has coordinated and conducted research and training in Benin and Brazil aimed at improving academic achievement of students in primary and secondary schools. He taught at the Federal University of Santa Maria for seven years before he joined SUNY Oswego in 1985.
Crane has more than 30 years of experience in commercialization and business operations, primarily in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. She is a venture partner at Apple Tree Partners and head of commercialization for Apple Tree Pharmaceuticals. She previously served on the board from 2005 to 2012, is a former member of the School of Business Advisory Board and has participated in the Alumni-in-Residence program.
While studying communication at Oswego, Crane worked for The Oswegonian and was a Resident Assistant. She enjoys being involved at her alma mater and most recently returned to campus in April 2013 as the keynote speaker for the Honors Convocation. Crane is a staunch advocate for STEM education and has supported STEM career development through the Possibility Scholarship program together with her late husband Doug Crane ’80.
Doran has been actively involved at Oswego for many years, serving on the Alumni Association Board of Directors as an officer and as the Alumni Association representative to the Oswego College Foundation Investment Committee and the Reunion Task Force in 2007-08.
He is also involved in the AIR and ASK programs and is an active participant with the School of Business Symposium.
As a student at Oswego, Doran studied business administration, was the men’s lacrosse captain in 1982, and participated in the alumni/mentor program.
Doran frequents Oswego alumni events in New York City, where he has been professionally located throughout his career.
With more than 25 years experience in investment relations, she is also a member of several professional organizations, including the Association of Investment Management Sales Executives and 100 Women in Hedge Funds. Most recently, Mochrie was the 2013 chapter inductee of Beta Gamma Sigma, the premier international honor society of AACSB accredited business programs.
Mochrie studied applied mathematics and economics as a student at Oswego and worked in the Continuing Education office. Through the New York City Career Connections program, she recently hosted SUNY Oswego business students.
Together with her husband, Chris Tuohy ’81, she maintains close ties with many Oswego alumni friends.
—Kaitlin Provost ’12
SUNY Oswego graduate and Emmy award-winning news anchor Kendis Gibson ’94 shared his insight on life after Oswego for the “Voices of Diversity” program April 19. His visit was part of the Alumni-In-Residence, or A.I.R., program sponsored by the Oswego Alumni Association and supported by The Fund for Oswego. Voices of Diversity promotes awareness of minorities in the media industry and encourages diversity in all aspects of the media.
Students gained insight from Oswego alumni during the third annual Future Oswego Leaders Conference March 8 and 9.
This event, organized by Omicron Delta Kappa and co-sponsored by the Oswego Alumni Association, provided students the opportunity to network with alumni professionals.
Matt Weiller ’84 delivered the keynote address in the Campus Center. Weiller, a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State, has served as a U.S. diplomat since 1991, working both in Washington and embassies around the world.
A German major and Russian minor at SUNY Oswego, Weiller served as a resident assistant in Funnelle Hall.
“Being a resident assistant is surprisingly similar to working in an embassy,” Weiller said. “You work in close quarters with the same people night and day.”
Jackie Maguire ’13, a dual major in adolescent education and mathematics, said of the conference, “I liked how diverse the speakers were — each one came from different backgrounds.”
Following the luncheon, breakout sessions were hosted by Weiller, Saleem Cheeks ’01, management supervisor of public affairs for Eric Mower & Associates, and Sara Wallace M ’10, executive team member for DestinyUSA.
A political science graduate, Cheeks credits his role as president of the Student Association as a factor that landed him his first job with the New York State Governor’s office.
Wallace spoke of hard work and success at a young age. “It’s not just about getting the job,” Wallace said. “It’s about hitting the ground at 100 percent once you have landed it.”
Wallace studied history and political development as a graduate student at Oswego.
Wallace emphasized setting challenging personal goals, “Don’t settle for anything less; tell yourself, ‘Yes I can, and I will do this.’”
—Tyler J. Edic ’13
A shrewd investment in his industrial arts education has paid hefty dividends in his manufacturing career.
Just to be clear: George Wurtz III ’78, president and CEO of Soundview Paper Co. LLC, fully intended to teach industrial arts after graduating from Oswego. Hardwired with his grandfather’s love of woodworking and machinery, Wurtz had graduated from a premier high-school industrial arts program. He had turned down offers to play football for Penn State and Army in order to enroll at Oswego. He had worked grueling summer construction jobs to pay his tuition in cash.
In 1978, industrial arts education degree in hand, Wurtz was ready to roll. He was weighing job offers from two school districts when Miller Brewing in Fulton offered him an inventory control job at twice the salary. Wurtz made a decisive course correction and followed the money—and a hunch that manufacturing might be an even better fit.
A Home Run?
While student teaching in Valley Stream, Wurtz sensed a red flag. His trailblazing lesson plan required students to design a product, then form a company to build and sell it. “The students loved it. They asked for extra lab time,” Wurtz remembers. “It looked like a home run.”
The school’s administrators made a different call: “You’re not a business teacher,” they scolded Wurtz. “You’re an industrial arts teacher.”
Fortunately, the manufacturing industry embraced such ingenuity. Wurtz shakes his head when he remembers his first meeting with Miller Brewing. “The interview date changed at the last minute. I had planned to get a haircut and wear a suit. Instead I had to go straight from the Industrial Arts lab, looking like Jeremiah Johnson with my long hair and overalls.”
“This was after the Vietnam War, and there was a shortage of engineers,” explains Wurtz.
“Industry was recruiting from ‘tech programs,’ and Oswego had one of the best in the country.
“An industrial arts degree looked a lot like a degree in mechanical engineering, with hands-on math, chemistry and physics labs,” he reports. “A number of my classmates went into industry instead of the classroom.”
The Scenic Route
Thirty-five years—and 17 address changes—later, it’s tough to imagine the larger-than-life Wurtz on any other trajectory. He spent almost a decade with Phillip Morris, the parent company of Miller Brewing. “It was like earning a Ph.D. in executive management,” he says. “I worked under industry icons. My ears were as big as Dumbo’s, taking it all in.”
In 1987, Wurtz was recruited into towel and tissue manufacturing, a subset of forest products, the nation’s third largest industry. He spent the next 15 years helping to build Fort James, home to such household brands as Brawny and Dixie Cups. When Georgia Pacific bought Fort James for $7.5 billion, Wurtz helped guide the merger then joined the new company in Atlanta, Ga.
Within a few years, Wurtz was second in command at Georgia Pacific. As executive vice president of pulp and paper, he was responsible for seven companies, 10,000 employees, and $6 billion in annual sales.
“I learned a lot working at the decision-making level of giant companies,” he says. “I discovered I loved mergers and acquisitions. But I always dreamed of walking away and creating smaller, leaner, more nimble companies, managed by hands-on investors who were also seasoned practitioners.”
The opportunity to lead his dream company came last year, when Wurtz, with equity investment firm Atlas Holdings, purchased Marcal Paper Co., a storied New Jersey towel and tissue company on the brink of closure.
In 2006, Wurtz—by then an industry icon—stepped away from corporate life when Koch Industries acquired Georgia Pacific. After decades in the fast lane, he hoped to spend more time with his wife, Nancy. “‘Miss Nancy,’ as they say in Atlanta, is my true love,” Wurtz says, “along with my daughter, Jacqueline, who has three wonderful boys under 4, and my son, George IV, who carries on the towel-and-tissue tradition.”
Wurtz also looked forward to stretches of time in his woodworking shop and aboard his 60-foot fishing boat. “My ideal day involves hooking a 1,000-pound tuna,” he explains. “But when that didn’t happen every day, I grew restless.”
High-energy Wurtz went back to work as CEO of WinCup in Stone Mountain, Ga., a massive but troubled supplier of foam cups, straws and other food service disposables. “I’d never
been associated with a company in bankruptcy,” he reports, “and I discovered I love fixing broken stuff.”
Wurtz was trolling for other stressed companies when Marcal Paper in Elmwood, N.J., caught his eye. “A product like toilet tissue isn’t going away,” he believes. “You can’t (digitalize or) cloud it. And China can’t compete in our market, because it’s not profitable to ship.”
The Lure of Marcal
When Wurtz and Atlas Holdings purchased Marcal in 2012, the floundering company had nearly lost sight of its proud history. Marcal was founded in 1928 by a resourceful Sicilian immigrant, Nicolas Marcalus, whose 17 patents include the jagged metal edge used to cut waxed paper and the first automatic toilet tissue winder.
Marcal, which pioneered the use of recycled paper to make towels and tissue, flourished for 70 years. In 2001, the family-run business borrowed $125 million for a new paper machine—a wise investment, it seemed, until 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina knocked the wind out of the economy. A few years later, the bank called in the Marcal loan.
In 2007, on the brink of bankruptcy, the family sold to venture capitalists, who planned to take the regional company national. “Going national wasn’t the answer,” according to Wurtz. “Thirty-eight percent of the domestic towel and tissue market lies within 500 miles of the Marcal plant.”
“The company had a lot of pride but lost its way,” Wurtz believes. “By the time we took over, its workforce was emotionally decimated.
“We had to let 100 people go, but we saved 500 jobs,” he reports. “Those workers are this company’s greatest asset. Many are immigrants from Eastern Europe. The typical employee has been here for 18 years and most likely has a father, brother or sister who works here.”
The outgoing, straight-shooting Wurtz now spends much of his time mingling with Marcal employees. On his daily walkabouts, he covers an average of 3.5 miles and greets almost every employee by name. “These workers have done nothing but work hard for Marcal, even as many lost their pensions,” says Wurtz. “I love ’em to death.”
From the Nest
Part of this allegiance dates back to Wurtz’s down-to-earth Long Island childhood. He and four siblings (including Kevin ’79 and Thomas ’92) were instilled with a strong work ethic. Each child was allowed to play one sport and expected to hold a job during its off-seasons. (Wurtz worked on a commercial fishing boat).
“My father was a union worker for the public utility company,” Wurtz says. “He’s always reminded me that ‘Joe Hourly’ will make or break you. Success doesn’t happen in the executive suite.
“Football also taught me that you’re only as good as the guys behind you,” he adds. “From my corporate years, I learned that, if you’re not making it or selling it, you are overhead.”
On a recent tour of the one-square-mile Marcal campus, Wurtz was walking the talk. At one point, the strolling CEO and a recycling truck approached the same intersection. Wurtz gave the driver a friendly salute. The driver stopped, smiled, and gestured for his boss to go ahead.
“No, you go ahead,” Wurtz chuckled. “I’m paying you.”
On a Roll
Since Soundview took charge, the Marcal plant has operated three shifts a day, seven days a week. Volume has increased by 22 percent. Equity investors have earned 44 percent dividends. Employees recently received their first gain-sharing checks. In December, Soundview purchased a second paper plant, Pultney Paper in Vermont.
The Soundview company carries no debt. Fifty percent of profits are invested in operations. “We pay it forward,” Wurtz explains. “When we buy a stressed company, our goal is not to buy, fix, and sell. Our goal is to buy, get it going, and keep it going.
“We came into Marcal making huge promises,” Wurtz reflects. “Now we’re delivering on these promises—and regaining a lot of trust.
“Saving jobs is at the heart of our work,” he says. “For decades, our country’s manufacturing base and its middle class have been eroding. But the American spirit is still alive. You see it when we pull together after events like 9-11, Hurricane Sandy, and the Boston Marathon bombing.
“Americans are very productive people,” says Wurtz. “I believe we have a strong shot at reviving manufacturing.”
A strong shot indeed, if that revival is fueled by towel-and-tissue titan George Wurtz ’78, with his boots-on-the-ground leadership style, wide-angle view, and ever-versatile Oswego degree in industrial arts education.
Long-Range Lesson Plan:
Unbeknownst to George Wurtz III ’78, Oswego was preparing him to embrace the unexpected.
George Wurtz never used his Oswego degree in the classroom, but it’s been a priceless asset in his corporate career. “Industrial arts is the perfect training ground for manufacturing,” he says. “Everything I learned in industrial arts education applies to running a company. They taught us to be good managers without calling it management.
“We learned to create lesson plans, which are essentially business plans. We learned to establish objectives, to control costs, and to measure progress. We learned that good leadership is about good teaching—emphasizing what’s going well and teaching what could be even better.”
To acknowledge Oswego, George serves on its Engineering Advisory Board, shares executive suite insights on sharpening Oswego’s competitive edge and has established an Engineering Excellence Fund. And as a featured guest in the Alumni-in-Residence Program, he likes to underscore the enduring importance of Oswego relationships. “In college, you grow socially as well as academically. My best friends are still my college friends,” he reports.
Those college friendships may evolve into professional relationships.
Wurtz and Ron Schulman ’77, who crossed paths early in their manufacturing careers, recently reconnected through LinkedIn. “One thing led to another,” says Wurtz, “and Ron is now our comptroller at Soundview.”
Speaking of the unexpected: rugby represents another surprise turn in Wurtz’s life. In 1974, the 6-foot-3-inch middle linebacker arrived at Oswego ready to play football, only to learn the program had been cut. The skeptical freshman, who had been recruited by Penn State and Army, reluctantly joined Oswego’s rugby team. Almost 40 years later, Wurtz—a master of corporate mergers —still considers this his favorite.
“The rugby players taught us how to laugh, and we taught them how to tackle. After the game, you sing songs and drink beer with your opponents,” he says. “My rugby friends remain my closest friends. Many still play every summer in the CanAm Rugby Tournament.”
When Kevin Gilman ’74, the coach/catalyst of this spirited group, passed away in 2009, the rugby bond grew even stronger. Wurtz spearheaded the establishment of an endowed memorial scholarship and rugby fund to honor his friend.
“There is such cool camaraderie in rugby: part fraternity, part family,” says Wurtz. “I’ve learned it’s the greatest game ever played.”